Tuesday, March 18, 2014

the courthouse in Iqaluit

While I was in Iqaluit, I got to check out the Nunavut Court of Justice. This was pretty cool. A lot of court stuff is done over the phone, or in the communities while on circuit, so a lot of us don't get a chance to actually see THE courthouse.

however, the snow acts as a slight access to justice issue.

I was there to attend a call to the bar ceremony for some colleagues. That in itself was pretty neat. It was held in chambers, the judge was very welcoming, and the court clerks wore sealskin. Then the incredibly friendly court staff gave us a tour of the courthouse and its various rooms.

The place is generally beautifully designed, right down to the smallest details, like the barrier that is shaped like a kamotik (sled), or the smoky glass on the doors to the courtroom, featuring vivid images of Inuit life. The hearing rooms and mediation rooms are also very modern-looking, while incorporating traditional elements.


shaped like a sled

waiting room

mediation room

There were also a lot of "Nunavut" elements to it.  The security detector, for example, appears not to be used very often. Kind of like the security detectors at the airports in the north.

securely guarding the wall

The cells downstairs, which hold the accused until their hearings were a lot bleaker. I imagine most courthouse cells are like that. It's the area that not a lot of people see. Over the cell doors hung a sign that read in all caps EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY NO COFFEE AND NO CIGARETTES FOR PRISONERS.

While I was in Iqaluit, I also went to see the dentist.

This was a big deal for me, because as you remember, about a month ago I had a traumatic dental accident that involved me trying to eat a metal fork. I did not succeed; the fork won. I still had not seen a dentist since the incident, four weeks ago, because a doctor still had not come to Cambridge Bay.  Luckily there are dental offices in the big city of Iqaluit, so I finally got to get a dentist to look at my poor traumatized tooth.

The dental office I visited had what is probably the most beautiful view a dental patient can ever have while getting their teeth drilled. The office sat on top of the hill, overlooking the rest of downtown and the sunset. In the waiting room sat a young local guy, scarfing down salty chips, I guess ready to make the dentist work for his money.

The dentist was super-friendly to me, maybe because I wasn't eating potato chips, and while he stuck his fingers in my mouth he told me stories about hanging out with Harrison Ford and Bono and Queen Latifah, who is a very good friend of his.  I asked him that if my tooth needed to be replaced, can I get a gold tooth with grills?  He laughed and then abruptly said NO.  Apparently patients have asked him that before.

view from the dentist's office